International Cultures Unite At Festival Of Nations
BSU Student Theophile Mathius is from Malaysia and says she’s proud to represent her Chinese mother and Indian father. She sees it as the best of both worlds.
“There’s a slogan in Malaysia where we call it “One Malaysia” where all ethnic groups are harmonious together, living together in peace and harmony,” said Mathius.
More than 100 international students from 31 countries worked together to put on the 48th Annual Festival of Nations at Bemidji State University. Diversity is a priority at BSU.
“It adds so much to the culture here at BSU as well as to the students learning and to their experience,” said BSU International Recruiter Megan McLaughlin. “The world is becoming more and more global and diverse and BSU is reflecting that.”
Mathius says it’s been a blessing exposing other people to her culture and she also learned about accepting other cultures while working on the festival.
“It’s important that we come together,” said Mathius. “It doesn’t matter what we can actually work as a team regardless of our skin color.”
Most of the production was put on by students. They were in charge of everything from food to the entertainment. The food was very popular with the crowd as the lines didn’t seem to ever end. On the menu were items such as chicken stew and potato dumplings.
Performances throughout the show let students showcase their talents. In some cases students performed in English and in their native language.
This year also featured something new, henna tattoos. The festival also allows others to have a different experience.
“We don’t have a lot of diverse activities or students necessarily on campus or showcased on campus and I think it’s a wonderful way for us to recruit,” said BSU International Program Center Director Cherish Hagen-Swanson.
All the money raised from the event’s ticket sales will go back into the International Student Organization.